100 books like Masters of Starlight

By David Fahey, Linda Rich,

Here are 100 books that Masters of Starlight fans have personally recommended if you like Masters of Starlight. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Out With the Stars: Hollywood Nightlife in the Golden Era

Shawn Levy Author Of The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont

From my list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze.

Who am I?

Shawn Levy is the author of 11 books of biography and pop culture history, including The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont, Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential, and Ready, Steady, Go! The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London. He was the longtime film critic of The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV in his beloved home city of Portland. He has written a history of the women pioneers of standup comedy which will be published by Doubleday in 2022 and at work on a podcast about the dark connections of politics and show business.

Shawn's book list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze

Shawn Levy Why did Shawn love this book?

It doesn't matter that it was patently phony: The glamour that was Tinseltown in Hollywood's golden age was impossibly romantic and utterly irresistible. Much of it had to do with the social lives of movie stars, and in particular the shenanigans they got up to in swanky nightclubs where they danced, courted, and made merry. Jim Heimann is a superb chronicler of Los Angeles's architectural and cultural past, and this beautifully illustrated book is crammed with images of the likes of Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall patronizing such swell spots as Mocambo, the Trocadero, Ciro's, the Coconut Grove, the Player's Club, and many others. They're all gone now, but this collection of hundreds of photos of the clubs, inside and out, and the patrons, dressed as if for a royal wedding, brings them back to vibrant life.

By Jim Heimann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out With the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Describes the Hollywood bars, restaurants, and nightclubs frequented by celebrities and movie stars from the 1920s to the 1940s.


Book cover of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper

Shawn Levy Author Of The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont

From my list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze.

Who am I?

Shawn Levy is the author of 11 books of biography and pop culture history, including The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont, Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential, and Ready, Steady, Go! The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London. He was the longtime film critic of The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV in his beloved home city of Portland. He has written a history of the women pioneers of standup comedy which will be published by Doubleday in 2022 and at work on a podcast about the dark connections of politics and show business.

Shawn's book list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze

Shawn Levy Why did Shawn love this book?

Before he became a writer of potboiler novels and true-crime journalism, Dominick Dunne was a film and television producer and a social butterfly who also happened also to be an avid amateur photographer. This memoir of his Hollywood days, which resulted in a crash-and-burn from which he emerged as a writer, is filled with intimate, candid images of such friends (not all faithful) as Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, and Frank Sinatra, as well, of course, as Dunne and his family. There are dreamy and even eye-popping tales throughout, and if you're at all familiar with Dunne's books or magazine writing, you'll marvel at how so much of it so neatly dovetails with the life he actually lived and, thankfully, captured on film and in these frank and candid pages.

By Dominick Dunne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way We Lived Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mesmerizing, revelatory text combines with more than two hundred photographs -- most of them taken by the author -- in a startling illustrated memoir that will both astonish and move you.

When Dominick Dunne lived and worked in Hollywood, he had it all: a beautiful family, a glamorous career, and the friendship of the talented and powerful. He also had a camera and loved to take pictures. These photographs, which Dunne carefully preserved in more than a dozen leatherbound scrapbooks -- along with invitations, telegrams, personal notes, and other memorabilia -- record the parties, the glittering receptions, the society weddings,…


Book cover of Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Author Of So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls (And Why We're Still So Obsessed with It)

From my list on understanding how movies are made.

Who am I?

My writing takes readers behind the scenes of major moments in pop culture history and examines the lasting impact that our favorite TV shows, music, and movies have on our society and psyches. I investigate why pop culture matters. I have written eight books, including the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia, When Women Invented Television, Sex and the City and Us, and my latest, So Fetch. I’ve chosen books here that share my mission not only by going behind the scenes of major films but also by chronicling their effects on people’s real lives as well as culture and society at large.

Jennifer's book list on understanding how movies are made

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong Why did Jennifer love this book?

Biskind takes us right inside the boardrooms, movie shoots, and parties, oh, so many parties, that produced one of the biggest change movements in American cinematic history, the auteur wave of the 1970s. 

From the shocking success of Easy Rider through the tsunami of modern classics such as The Godfather, Chinatown, and Taxi Driver, as well as crowd-pleasers like Jaws, Biskind tells the story of how the likes of Scorcese and Coppola, DeNiro and Pacino, and other giants of modern film came to be.

Biskind was among the first to prove that Hollywood history could be as engaging and as serious a subject as presidential politics or world wars while remaining outrageously entertaining.

By Peter Biskind,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Easy Riders Raging Bulls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and…


Book cover of Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets

Shawn Levy Author Of The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont

From my list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze.

Who am I?

Shawn Levy is the author of 11 books of biography and pop culture history, including The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont, Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential, and Ready, Steady, Go! The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London. He was the longtime film critic of The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV in his beloved home city of Portland. He has written a history of the women pioneers of standup comedy which will be published by Doubleday in 2022 and at work on a podcast about the dark connections of politics and show business.

Shawn's book list on Hollywood glamour and sleaze

Shawn Levy Why did Shawn love this book?

It must be said out loud and straightaway that much of this classic, influential book is, as the kids say, bullshit. But it is iconic bullshit, hair-raising bullshit, bullshit that you simply cannot ignore or pretend away. Anger, an avant-garde filmmaker whose work teems with sexual and occult content, published this book in 1965 when many of the stars of classic Hollywood whose hidden proclivities he discusses were still either alive or part of a revered pantheon: Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, and so on. And his claims about their sex lives, criminal activities, and their, shall we say, 'flexible' morals were groundbreaking. It doesn't matter that much of it isn't true: the urban legends it inspired still walk the earth. And the lurid photographs of death scenes and stars at their most vulnerable, though often nightmarish, have also become iconic. As a journalist, I…

By Kenneth Anger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood Babylon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Kenneth Anger has fashioned a delicious . . . box of poisoned bonbons. Picking through the slag heap of the Hollywood dream factory, [he] has put together a truly prodigious anthology of star-studded scandal.”—The New York Times

Kenneth Anger is a former child movie actor who grew up to become one of America’s leading underground filmmakers. Hollywood Babylon was originally published in Paris, and quickly became an underground legend. Not a word has been changed. Not a story omitted. Here is the hot, luscious plum of sizzling scandal that continues to shock the world.


Book cover of Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Jon Lewis Author Of Road Trip to Nowhere: Hollywood Encounters the Counterculture

From my list on 1960s Hollywood.

Who am I?

I have been teaching and writing about post-WWII American film for over thirty years now, with a particular passion for (behind the scenes) Hollywood history. Road Trip to Nowhere follows up on a new sort of movie industry history I introduced in my 2017 book on 1950s Los Angeles, Hard-Boiled Hollywood. Both books focus on actors, writers, producers, and directors who don’t quite make it—aspirants and would-be players kicked to the side of the road, so to speak, and others who for reasons we may or may not understand just walked away from the modern American dream life of stardom and celebrity. 

Jon's book list on 1960s Hollywood

Jon Lewis Why did Jon love this book?

Unique among those in Hollywood who dove head first into the American counterculture, Jane Fonda proved too committed to dismiss as a dilettante, too persistent to just fade away, too formidable for the FBI to destroy. Bosworth, a veteran Hollywood biographer (she has written books on Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando as well) uniquely understands political celebrity; she’s never dismissive, but she’s not so easy on her subject either. Because she knows better: Bosworth’s father was the Hollywood 10 attorney Bart Crum. Bosworth surely understands the risks involved in Left-wing celebrity.

By Patricia Bosworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane Fonda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As actress, activist, businesswoman, wife, and mother, Jane Fonda has pushed herself to the limit, attempting to please all, excel in every arena, be everything. We've read her version of her controversial life, yet nothing can prepare us for this genuinely revelatory account of Jane's engrossing, sometimes shocking journey. Supplemented by the psychiatric records of her suicidal, bipolar mother, Fonda's FBI file, and interviews with her intimates, this perceptive portrait strips away hype and the subject's own mythmaking. Patricia Bosworth shows us what a toll Jane's quest to excel (and please her demanding father, Henry) exacted and sheds light on…


Book cover of The Man Who Rocked the Boat: The Story of a Troublesome Lawyer who Learned Almost Too Much About Life, Crime and Politics

Mark Bulik Author Of The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

From my list on Irish American true crime.

Who am I?

I’ve been a newspaperman for 40 years, the last 25 at The New York Times, and crime is the meat and potatoes of the business. My mother came from an Irish American clan in the Pennsylvania township where the Molly Maguires were born – my great-uncle died at 13 in the mine where the Mollies made one of their first recorded appearances. So I’ve been fascinated by Irish American true crime ever since the Sean Connery film The Mollies Maguires came out in 1970. I’ve spent most of my adult life researching the subject, and have given lectures on it all over the country.

Mark's book list on Irish American true crime

Mark Bulik Why did Mark love this book?

This forgotten masterpiece of a memoir by a prosecutor who took on corruption on the docks of New York came out in 1956, two years after that Marlon Brando classic, On the Waterfront.

William Keating, a hard-nosed, relentless, and incorruptible crime-fighter, gives an inside look at the reign of terror imposed on honest, hard-working longshoremen by the gangsters who ran their union.

Keating was by no means anti-labor – at the start of Chapter 2, he mentions that his father was an official in the United Mine Workers, and that his great-grandfather was a prominent Molly Maguire in the hard-coal fields of Pennsylvania. That earned points with me – I come from a long line of Irish American coal miners in that area. 

Book cover of Making Movies

Kieron Connolly Author Of Dark History of Hollywood: A century of greed, corruption and scandal behind the movies (Dark Histories)

From my list on moviemaking.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved movies. In my 20s, I went to film school – perhaps you can still find a couple of the short films I wrote with animator Matthew Hood on Vimeo (Hourglass and Metalstasis) – and I worked a little in the UK film industry reading scripts for Film4, among others. I’ve also interviewed filmmakers, including Nicolas Winding Refn, Christopher Hampton, Life of Brian producer John Goldstone and editor Anne V. Coates. And I’ve always found a romance, despite the seedy aspects, of Tinseltown being developed out in Hollywoodland, a place of orange groves and pepper trees where people from the Midwest went to retire in the sun.   

Kieron's book list on moviemaking

Kieron Connolly Why did Kieron love this book?

Sidney Lumet directed Twelve Angry Men and The Verdict, among many others, and the beauty of this short book is just how practical he is about his craft. In the magazine interviews and hagiographies about directors, we seldom get a true sense of the working day on a movie set, or what happens long before shooting begins and months after it finishes. But here Lumet reveals why he always tried to schedule a very simple shot for the first set-up on day 1 of production, the value of a rehearsal period (if he was granted one) and that he took a lunchtime nap. From first being offered a script to the final sound mix, this is what a movie director really does.

By Sidney Lumet,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Making Movies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Invaluable.... I am sometimes asked if there is one book a filmgoer could read to learn more about how movies are made and what to look for while watching them. This is the book.” —Roger Ebert, The New York Times Book Review

Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio…


Book cover of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

Rachel M. Harper Author Of The Other Mother

From my list on the dazzling lives of queer artists and writers.

Who am I?

I am the author of three books, all featuring characters who feel like outsiders; some are queer, many are artists, most are people of color. I was lucky enough to grow up around artists, in a community where creativity was valued. I wrote poems and invented card games, put on plays in our living room, and made up stories to fall asleep at night. I knew I was an artist before I knew the word queer. When I came out, my outsider status doubled; I wanted to know how other queer artists and writers navigated these dual identities—how they not only survived but thrived. Their stories are my story.

Rachel's book list on the dazzling lives of queer artists and writers

Rachel M. Harper Why did Rachel love this book?

To call this book a biography threatens to diminish the power and force of the story telling.

Yes, it covers the biographical details—the troubled family life, the delayed yet ferocious sexuality, the prodigious talent—but what makes this book extraordinary is the alchemy that occurs on the page; the blending of Williams’ voice with Lahr’s narrative focus gives us a deeply researched and insightful dive into the mind (and heart) of one of the greatest playwrights the American theatre has ever produced.

People today call everything “epic,” but this book truly is; it delves into Williams’ process, introduces his demons and muses, and shows the challenges all writers face of how to balance the people we’re committed to in our real lives with the characters we’re devoted to on the page.

The gift here is not in the gossip (though there’s plenty of great dish), it’s in the time travelling: to…

By John Lahr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tennessee Williams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no other. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.

With vivid cameos of the formative influences in Williams's life-his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mother Edwina; his demented…


Book cover of Dave Barry Turns 50

E.J. Lamprey Author Of The Christmas Caper

From my list on getting older with style and panache.

Who am I?

I’ve been a columnist in a national magazine, book reviewer on a daily newspaper, journalist on a small rural paper, commercial blogger for hire, copy-editor, and critiquer, usually alongside more conventional roles in the not entirely thrilling world of corporate finance. In my fifties, I took a belated gap year courtesy of a good redundancy package and started writing full-time under a couple of different names, mainly EJ Lamprey but here as Clarissa. The gap year never really ended . . . At the heart of all my books is the exuberant celebration of finding in autumn the best season of our lives.

E.J.'s book list on getting older with style and panache

E.J. Lamprey Why did E.J. love this book?

We’ve outgrown vaulting over five-barred gates, running up mountains, drinking all night, and springing bright-eyed from our beds, and so what? For anyone in denial, or clinging stubbornly to youth, Dave is the Baby Boomer to point out the stark realities. He’s funny but he’s ruthless. Fifty’s not the new thirty. It’s fifty. The reason I recommend it is that it can be hard to let go and you’ll waste precious autumn if you don’t accept the inevitable, and move on with a spring in your step into what I have found to be the best period of all. Laughing helps. Laughing always helps.  

By Dave Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Barry Turns 50 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoints the glaring signs that you've passed the half-century mark:

- You are suddenly unable to read anything written in letters smaller than Marlon Brando.
- You have accepted the fact that you can't possibly be hip. You don't even know…


Book cover of The Time of Our Time

Robert J. Begiebing Author Of Norman Mailer at 100: Conversations, Correlations, Confrontations

From my list on reading Norman Mailer.

Who am I?

I’m a Professor of English Emeritus at Southern New Hampshire University and author of ten books, including fiction, criticism, memoir, and collected journalism. I was also an inaugural faculty member in the writing workshops at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, MA. I first got into Mailer in the 1970s after reading The Naked and the Dead and Cannibals and ChristiansI ended up writing my doctoral dissertation on Mailer, which became my first book, Acts of Regeneration. My second book, Toward A New Synthesis, examined Mailer along with John Fowles and John Gardner as writers who adopted some of the techniques of post-modernism but kept their work firmly tethered to ethical issues.  

Robert's book list on reading Norman Mailer

Robert J. Begiebing Why did Robert love this book?

Published on the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Naked and the Dead, the book is an overview of Mailer’s entire writing career up to 1998, by way of introductions to and excepts from his decades of fiction and nonfiction. I make this recommendation as a risk because the book is a nearly 1300-page-long anthology. No one is going to sit down and read cover to cover, however, so I offer it as a way of seeing the sweep of a major author’s career; here you can dip in and out as you wish to see what’s up with a given work or topic at any point in Mailer’s publishing life, up to 1998. You can decide then what you want to read in the offered excerpt or in full, either from an included short work of magazine journalism or a short story, or from a whole…

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Time of Our Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TIME OF OUR TIME is a selection of Mailer's best work, chosen by Mailer himself, and ingeniously arranged as a literary retrospective. It is a masterly, boisterous portrait of our times, seen through the fiction and reportage of a great writer. Included are passages from THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT and THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, as well as many of his other works and his best-known magazine pieces from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna. This giant omnibus is a testament to Mailer's enormous energies, his vast curiosity, and his amazing talent and amounts almost to a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood, and film?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood, and film.

Marilyn Monroe Explore 10 books about Marilyn Monroe
Hollywood Explore 118 books about Hollywood
Film Explore 213 books about film